If you want to find out which programs have established an Internet connection on your system you can use the software Procx for that. Procx is a process and module manager much like the well acclaimed Process Explorer from Sysinternals. One difference is that Procx is displaying a green icon next to each process or module if it has a connection to the Internet.
This is a great way to identify any process, program and module that is connecting to the Internet. These programs and processes can then be analyzed to determine if the Internet connection is needed and trustworthy or not. This should just take a few seconds for most processes listed there, we all know that Firefox and Opera need a Internet connection for example.
It becomes difficult if general processes have a Internet connection, svchost.exe for example. It's not clear if this is needed or not and it requires some research to find out. A quick research with Process Explorer revealed that this svchost.exe process was related to the RPC - Remote Procedure Call - service that is needed for Internet Connections.
The best way to find out would be either perform a search for the process and find out if it needs an Internet connection . You could also just kill the process and see what happens but this could let to blue screens or other errors and is normally not advised.
Procx does not have to be installed and can be run from any location on your computer.
Update: The Procx website is no longer available and it seems that the program has been discontinued. I suggest you use Process Explorer instead which is linked above. You can alternatively download the latest version of [Download not found] from our servers. We have uploaded the process manager there for your convenience.
If you want to find out which programs are connecting to the Internet, try CurrPorts as an alternative.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.